Ngatia Kanyoge, a coffee farmer for over 25 years, is the general manager of Gaturiri. As general manager he sits on the Barichu Board of Directors, works with the washing station staff on training and mill improvements, and represents the needs of the member farmers.
In the Karindundu micro region, each farmer has an average of 300 coffee trees grown naturally under the shade of grevillea, macadamia, and eucalyptus trees. Each farmer cultivates their coffee plot around their individual homes alongside other crops such as tea, maize, bananas, and various vegetables. The main harvest season is from October to January.
Coffee cherries are hand-picked for optimum ripeness which requires each area to be picked multiple times over the harvest at 10 to 14 day intervals. Gaturiri Factory has trained all of the mill workers, agronomists, and clerks to attain excellence in their craft. They are a superb example of Kenya’s process, which is considered to be the most intricate in the world.
At the factory, the cherries are sorted and graded meticulously before they are accepted and processed using a 4 disc depulper. The nearby Kirigu River provides the water source for the factory. Once depulped, the beans are double fermented with intermittent washing and extended soaking. The wet beans are taken from the soaking tanks to pre-drying beds which wick away most of the moisture on the beans before they are piled on another bed to gently finish the drying process.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’ll be sipping a cup of Kenya Gaturiri, from Willoughby’s Coffee and Tea in New Haven, Connecticut, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Karindundu, Nyeri, Kenya
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Barichu Farmer Cooperative Society
elevation: 1700-1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Kenya Gaturiri comes wafting up delicately out of the cup. Beautiful chocolate, rose hips, dried fruit, berries, and mixed nuts.
Immediately post-brew, the coffee presents my taste buds with bright and tart fruit flavors—namely a sharp ruby red grapefruit acidity that gate crashes onto my palate, swooping over my tongue and cresting against the roof of my mouth before splashing down on the back of my tongue. There are some other flavors happening here, obviously, but none are even close to being as prevalent as the acidity: raw cocoa nibs and dried fruits.
As it cools off, the sharpness of the acidity backs off a tad but it’s still pretty forward.
The overall profile of the coffee now is much fuller, the flavors are much deeper, the finish lasts much longer. The flavors are thick, sweet, and juicy as I’m now picking up notes raisins, currants, grape jelly, and apricot. It’s the same sort of sweet thickness that you’d taste if you spread some grape jelly on top of butter. If, of course, you also smear honey and brown sugar all over your biscuits because those flavors are in this cup too.
As the cup cools off, the flavor gets a whole lot more intense with massive notes of dark red wine, plums, sweet red delicious apples, black cherry, blueberry, and strawberry with a touch of cashews that linger in the finish.
Full body; silky mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
What a coffee.
The Kenya Gaturiri, from Willoughby’s Coffee, is a very refined and sweet coffee that is equally delicate as it is bombastic. While the coffee does present the palate with a voluptuous, rounded, full-figured body, the individual flavors are graceful, the mouthfeel is silky, and the overall experience is a lesson in sophistication.
From the very first sip, the Gaturiri is a decidedly special coffee, and that sentiment remains true to the very last drop.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.